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Tag Archives: Mobility

Distributed Bike Park+Share Systems

It has been some time since my last blog entry. Having sort of hit some shifting sands, in the course of my work on the high-density bike park+share system that will safely stack and store up to 400 bikes, in the form of lack of financial wherewithal, I have looked at a solution for a small distributed bike park+share system that would have a floor area of 12 sqm.

Staying true to the concept of a combined bike park+share, the automated system would store around 10 bikes with controlled access. The solution is reliable, tested, flexible, overground, easily accessible and whose investment, calculations show, can be amortized in less than 4 years. In certain constellations with additional facilities and income sources the investment can be amortized well within 2 years. The need for additional services has been reflected in online surveys conducted in Switzerland and worldwide.

Market research shows no comparable solution is available today, so this could well be a problem solver that finds a market.

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Bike Theft Insurance

Bike gone; Photo: Bogdix; Creative Commons licenseInsurance firms appear not to have latched on to the impact of safe and secure bike parking on theft and vandalism of bikes.
In the case of cars and other motorized vehicles, insurance premiums vary depending on where vehicles are parked, be they in garages or out in the open.
In the case of bicycles however, there has been no encouragement and/or premium plans that factor in this aspect. Insurance firms would profit from such differentiation, just as bike owners would reduce insurance premiums, if they were to use safe and secure bike parking facilities.

 

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City Planning & Bike Parking

Tram and bike parking

Photo: cosimo.chiffi; creative commons license; http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/3.0/

City planning authorities have been making attempts to provide bike paths and/or lanes in many cities. However, there appears to be no school of thought that factors in the need and paucity of bike parking facilities in the mobility chain. Hop on, hop off literally!
I have often heard about the flexibility of bikes enabling one to park the bike literally at the doorstep or at a lamppost. This solution works in some situations, but does not address the problems associated with this form of parking. Invariably, city planning authorities seem to address the paucity of bike parking space at railway stations. But this approach does not seem to concede that a bicyclist may not just want to park a bike at the railway station, but perhaps elsewhere in the city. Say at a shopping complex or at an office building. Car parking bays and lots seem to be automatically included in the planning process, but bikes have at times, as an afterthought, been given racks that are set up as an apology for a pressing need for safe and secure parking facilities.
Yes we do know, we would like to be as close as possible to where we are going, just as a motorist would like to do so with the car. But is that a long-lasting solution, with which a electric bike owner would be satisfied with?

 

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Survey Results

Thank you for taking part! You have contributed to bringing the solution a step closer. Here is an excerpt of the survey results.

A Need?
Around 62 people from around the world have taken part in the survey and the results shown that a large majority want an affordable, safe and secure bike parking system.
Chart result for safe and secure bike parking

Where?
The survey listed major congregation points such as railway, bus and subway stations, office complexes, inner cities, metropolitan areas and shopping centres. There was also a wish to have such facilities at schools and universities. Generally just about everywhere in cities. The results show that around 70-90% of respondents wish to have such facilities at these places.
Parking choices

A Charge?
A majority of users are indeed willing to pay a reasonable fee to use such a facility. Though these survey results show that a large majority are for such fees, experience has shown that around 50% of users will be willing to use and pay for such a facility. As and when insurance companies start factoring in security of bike parking, as is done with automobiles today, there will be a marked influence on insurance premiums. Among various factors that play a role are ease and security of use. A system that requires entering buildings or parking underground tend to put off many, especially women. The key lies in tackling this problem and offering a solution avoiding these pitfalls.
Chart result for safe and secure bike parking charges

How Often?
Respondents have shown that a facility operating 24/7 is preferred. There is a strong need to have the reassurance that a bike can be parked at any time of the day or night with no risk of theft or damage.
Chart result for safe and secure bike parking usage

Use Your Bike More Often?
If such a facility is available, people are willing to use their bikes more often. In effect, among other factors such as bike lanes etc., undoubtedly this would go some way in encouraging use of bikes in cities.
Chart result for safe and secure bike parking usage increase

Combination of Bike Parking and Renting?
The flexibility of using one’s own bike or renting one plays a role in the freedom to choose with a 50-50 split. Having said that, this is an important factor for those who seek to rent a bike in a quick and easy manner, especially when one does not use one’s own or even own a bike.
Parking and renting

Comments
Quite a few comments have been added in the survey. Check out a few below:

    Additional requirements: guaranteed space (to avoid taking an expensive bike to the station, only to find out that there is no space available) and a facility for simple maintenance (e.g. facility to inflate tires).
    I would think that secure bike parking would be a priority at night – for example, say I was out late with friends.
    The facility needs to provide (potential) users with the reassurance that if the machine breaks down (e.g. when you want to pick up your bike at night after arriving at the station with the last train) they can still get to their bike somehow.
    Maybe these facilities would do well at transit/rail stations outside the centre. If folks could ride a mile or 2 to a rail, bus, or tram stop then safely park for the day, and feel 100% confident that the bike will not be stolen/tampered with, that would be extremely important. Then when you get to the city centre, or inner city…that’s where you could pick up a bike share if needed. We need safe cycling routes to rail/bus park and rides then! And of course to schools, with 5 mph speed limits within any bike crossings during school transport times.
    Having a safe, secure place to park my bike is a major plus–I can go about my business on my bike and not be worried it will be stolen or ruined by the elements.
    Ride a bike. It’s fun!
    Go go go!!!
 
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Posted by on December 29, 2009 in Environment, Mobility, Transport

 

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Project Idea

Bike towel drying method

Here’s a little more information about the idea and project:
Driven by the experience and the risk of losing and/or having a damaged bike, besides the added risk of a wet saddle and rusting. I came up with a solution that would cater to those who are already bikers or may want to become one. Offering seamless inter-modal transport enabling one to switch modes with some flexibility.

    1 – You’ve registered and got ID for your bike and yourself.
    2 – You’re taking a trip that involves bike > subway/train > bike
    3 – You decide to use your own bike for the first leg and reserve a bike for the last leg.
    4 – You bring your bike to the facility; Carry on with your journey
    Pickup the reserved bike and go on to the final destination

There are quite a few bike sharing solutions out there, but very few offer the combination of using one’s own or renting a bike. Many bikers appear to want such a combination.

You are never too young or too old to ride a bike. Keep moving, keep healthy.

 
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Posted by on November 11, 2009 in Environment, Mobility, Transport

 

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Bike Parking Survey

Bikes prohibited

Please check the following survey on your bike parking preferences/ choices
SURVEY

 
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Posted by on November 2, 2009 in Environment, Mobility, Transport

 

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Bike Parking

Blue bike

When cars were first a plenty and parking space was limited, we provided for extra parking space in the open or in buildings. It was the luxury of having those four wheels tucked away safe and secure. And what do bicyclists find? Something that is an apology for secure parking. Bicyclists the world over have to cope with quite a few hurdles, some of them life threatening, but the final hurdle of securely parking the bike is sheer insurmountable. So what gives? Solutions are a plenty with bike racks and lockers of various hues, many of them are practical and quite useful. The bike however, just like the bicyclist, cannot be parked in the open and requires a shelter, especially over a longer period of time. A shelter from the elements and nasty elements, with the former just playing elementary nature whims and the latter hell bent on either creating painful damage or playing Houdini with one’s alter ego. Has our ingenuity for finding solutions reached a dead end or have we just not set our priorities right? Or even worse, a solution that no one is willing to pay for. Car parking is not free any more, at least not in metropolitan cities. Is the biking community willing to pay for parking, just as they are for their super duper carbon fibre, makes you tea or coffee multiple-gear contraptions that keep them healthy and are balm to the environment?

 
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Posted by on October 20, 2009 in Environment, Mobility, Transport

 

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